An Overview of Indian Film

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Preamble Film is described as an effective and influencing medium of communication in modern society. The latest technological innovations and production techniques have enriched the capacity of the film medium as an audio-visual medium of
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  An Overview of Indian Film *Prof. B.P.Mahesh Chandra Guru University of Mysore ** Mr.Nagaraja Murthy *** Mr.M.Dileep Kumar **** Mr.Gundappa Preamble   Film is described as an effective and influencing medium of communication in modern society. The latest technological innovations and production techniques have enriched the capacity of the film medium as an audio-visual medium of communication. It is so much blended with a mass appeal as no other medium can shift or replace its space. Indian cinema tends to expose the contradictions of Indian society and turns out to be a process which spurt momentary illusions and satisfaction to its spectators and acts as a defensive mechanism of the public. India has emerged as a media super power over a period of time and India produces largest number of news reels, documentaries and films in the world. Film industry has grown commendably over a period of time in India. India produces largest number of news reels, documentaries and feature films in the world according to the latest statistics. In this paper an overview of Indian film is presented on the basis of review of relevant literature. Film industry has grown commendably over a period of time in India. India produces largest number of news reels, documentaries and feature films in the world according to the latest statistics. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------   *Professor, Department of Studies in Communication and Journalism, University of Mysore, Manasagangothri, Karnataka, India, E-mail:bpmcguru@yahoo.com Mob-9448462590. ** Research Scholar, Department of Studies in Communication and Journalism, University of Mysore, Manasagangothri, Karnataka, India, ***RGNF Research Scholar, Department of Studies in Communication and Journalism, University of Mysore, Manasagangothri, Karnataka, India, **** Research Scholar, Department of Studies in Communication and Journalism, University of Mysore, Manasagangothri, Karnataka, India,            Early Indian Cinema   The Lumiere brothers came over to India in 1896 and exhibited some films for the benefit of publics. Some foreign film makers also visited India during the last decade of 19th century and produced some films after visiting some places of historical and natural significance. Prominent among those films include Coconut Fair (1897), Our Indian Empire (1897),  APanorama of Indian Scenes and Possession (1898), Poona Races (1898) etc. In Mumbai Sukhram Bhatwadekar exhibited a film in 1897 on the basis of a wrestling match. He also produced a film in 1901 on the basis of a felicitation ceremony organized in honour of Paranjepe who exhibited great talent in Mathematics examination held at Cambridge University. It has been documented as the first information film by Barnow and Krishnamurthy. In Kolkatta, Hiralal Sen purchased a camera on the produced some films based on theatre performance in 1898. In 1899, Harishchandra Bhatwadekar produced a film called Wrestlers and exhibited it publicly. In 1900, F.B.Thanawala made two films namely Splendid New View of Bombay and Taboot Procession which attracted public attention. Bhatwadekar also made a film on the Delhi durbar of Lord Curzon in 1903. In 1910, Jem Shetji Premji Madan actively involved in film production, distribution and exhibition activities in Calcutta. He established a theatre in 1907 namely Elphinston Picture Palace which is known as the first Indian film theatre. Another businessman Abdul Yusuf Ali also worked as a film distributor during 1901– 1907. In Bombay and Calcutta some documentary films and news reels were produced by the film makers during this period. Madan produced the first Indian film called Pundalik  in 1912 after availing the technical assistance from a British man.   Era of Mooki Films   The historians have considered Maharashtra as the motherland of Indian film industry. D.G.Phalke is known as the founding father of Indian film industry. He had obtained formal training in arts, music, acting, architecture and photography. He had also studied in details the book entitled  ABC of Cinematography authored by Cicil Hepworth. He also visited England and obtained practical training in the art and craft of film making. He produced the first Indian feature film called  Raja Harishchandra. Phalke went to Nasik and established Hindustan Film Company and produced films like Sri Krishna Janma, Mohini Bhasmasura, Satyavan Savitri,  Lankadahan, Kalimardhan, Setu Bandhan and so on. He produced about 45 feature films and 16small films during 1913 – 1932 and provided a solid foundation for the growth of Indian film industry. Another producer Baburao Painter was greatly influenced by the cinematic works            of Phalke and established Maharashtra Film Company which contributed about 200 film technicians. Ardeshir Irani established the Imperial Film Company in 1926 and produced several Mooki films in India. He also promoted a good number of talented film makers and directors. Later on Chandulal Grover established another company namely Ranajit in Mumbai and produced about 100 films. Himamshu Roy and Devikarani established Bombay Talkies and trained a good number of film makers and technicians in India. In the decade of 1930, film industry was expanded in Maharashtra, Bengal, Orissa, Andhra, Mysore and Madras states. The British administrators constituted a committee under the chairmanship of T.Rangachariar to exam in the status and problems of Indian film industry. There were many British and Indian members who worked in this committee and recommended certain measures for the improvement of Indian film industry in India. In the decade of 1930s, Mumbai, Calcutta, Madras and Bangalore cities emerged as prominent film making centres of the country. About 1300 films were made in the country during 1913-1934 in Hindi, Marati, Bengali, Oriya, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada languages.   The first Indian talkie film  Alam Ara was produced in 1931 by Ardeshir Irani. During this period, 249 Tamil films, 134 Bengali films, 89 Telugu films, 87 Marati films and 9 Kannada films were produced. Prominent films of this period include -  Bhakta Prahlada (1931), Kalidas (1931), Chandidas (1932),  Indra Sabha (1932), Poorna Bhagat (1933),  Devdas (1935), President (1937), etc. Madras city also grew well as a prominent film making centre in South India. In the beginning, a good number of mythological, historical and social films were produced in the country. The Mooki films were given local captions in order to facilitate better understanding among the audience in different parts of the country. G.Venkatasubbaih (1996) observes: “The very name of mooki films became very popular after the emergence of talki films in India. Before that, mooki films were known as bioscope films in the country. The mooki films were mostly based on important theatre plays and the theatre personalities dominated the early stage of Indian film making”.   G.Paramesh (1995) writes: “In the beginning there was a close relationship between theatre and film world. The early films simply depicted the theatre culture, contents and performance in the country. The audience saw the theatre performance on the screen mostly. The scholars had termed the film making as an integrated exercise of theatre, literature and fine arts”.   In the age of mooki films, about 1000 films were made in India. Unfortunately, most of the films are not documented for public exhibition and understanding due to non-availability of            technological devices. The Indian film maker also borrowed the film making techniques of their western counterparts. Most of the films were produced in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. The prominent film producers of this period include – Phalke, Ganguli, Painter, Chandulal and Nataraj Modaliyar and others. The British administrators enacted the film regulations in order to prevent the production of unhealthy films in India.   Era of Talkie Films   A new age of talkie films began in India in 1929. Ardeshir Irani produced the first talkie film namely  Alam Ara in 1931. About 200 mooki films were produced during this year in India. Thoraval (2000) observes: “Indian theatre had remarkable influence on Indian film industry. Most of the film actors of the first generation were basically popular theatre personalities. The Indian folk theatre forms namely  Jatra of Bengal, Tamasha of Maharashtra, Kathakkali of Kerala, Krishnaleela of Uttar Pradesh, Bhavani Bhavai of Gujarat, Yakshagana of Karnataka etc, had an impact on Indian early films. The Hollywood films of America wereexhibited in India before the advent of talkie films”.   In the decade of 1930s, Prabhat Film Company, Modern Theatres, Bombay Talkies, Imperial Film Company, Wadia Movie tone, New Theatre Company, Madras Studios and other companies played a major role in the production of films. During 1931-40 Ardeshir Irani, V.Shantaram, Himamshu Roy, Wadia brothers, K.C.Barua, Bimal Roy, K.Subramanyam and others were the prominent film makers. Important films of this period include –  Alam Ara (1931), Kalidas (1931), Toofan Mail (1932), Chandidas (1932),  Indrasabha (1932),  Devdas (1935),  Jai Bharat (1936),  Amarjyothi (1936), Santa Tukharam (1936), Santa Jnaneshwar (1940),  Dancer (1940), Gopalkrishna (1948) etc. Most of the films were made in Hindi, Marati, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages during this period.   The decade of 1940s witnessed remarkable growth of Indian film industry. Babukhan, Sohrab Modi, Master Vinayaka, Devaki Bose, P.C.Barua, Bimal Roy, Pritwi Raj Kapur, N.S.Vasan, K.Subramanyam, P.Pullaiah became prominent film makers and directors of this period. Star system, formula film and black money affected the Indian film industry, comments Keval J.Kumar (2008:182). New organizations like A.R. Kardar’s ‘Kardar Studio’, V.Shantaram’s ‘Rajkamal Kalamandir Studio’, Mehboob Khan’s ‘Mehboob Studio’, Rajkapur’s ‘R.K.Studio’ etc, became prominent film making companies. The Government of India also established Films Division in 1949 in order to promote quality oriented films in the country. Prominent films of this period include – K.A.Abbas’s ‘  Journey of Doctor Kotnis’ and‘  Dharti ke Lal’ , Rajkapur’s  Barsat  , Sohrab Modi’s ‘ Pukar  ’, ‘ Sister  ’ and ‘  Roti ’, Wadia brothers’ ‘  Jungle Queen’ and ‘Delhi Express ’, Nadakarni’s ‘  Haridas’, P.Pullaiah’s            ‘  Dharmapatni ’, Rajachandrashekar’s ‘  Ashok Kumar’, T.R.Raghunath’s ‘ Kannagi’, MeyappanChettiyar’s ‘  Nam Iruvar’ , A.S.A.Swamy’s ‘Velaikari’ , Sundaram’s ‘  Mantrikumari’, Pendarkar’s ‘  Meet Bhakar’ , Subbaiah Naidu’s ‘ Vasanta Sena’ , Gubbi Veeranna’s ‘  Jeevana Nataka’ , K.Subramanya’s ‘Bhakta Prahlada’ ,K.R.Sharma’s ‘Mahabhakte Hemareddy  Mallamma’ , M.A.N.Iyengar’s ‘ Sati Tulasi’ etc. The prominent film makers of this period were Bimal Roy, Rajkapur, Gurudat, V.Shantaram, Mehboob Khan, Nadakarni, P.Pullaiah, Rajachandrashekar, Meyappan Chettiyar, Gubbi Veeranna, Kemparaja Urs and others. Indian Films in the Post-Independence Era   The Indian films grew well statistically and qualitatively in the post-independence period. The film industry also grew on the basis of box office economics. Colour films also dominated the Indian films during this period. Despite large number of commercial films some film makers made earnest efforts towards making creative films. Satyajit Ray, Gurudat, Devanand, Rajkapur, Shantharam, Mehboob Khan and other committed and creative directors gave a new dimension to Indian films. Kundanlal Sehgal, Pankaj Malik, K.C.Day, Lathamangeshkar, Asha Bhosley and other talented singers also enriched the Indian film industry through their creative ventures.   In the decade of 1950s, Sohrab Modi’s  Jhansi Ki Rani , Shantaram’s  Janak Janak Payal  Baje , Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali ,  Aparajito ,  Apoor Sansar and  Jalsagar  , Mehboob Khan’s  Mother India, Rajkapur’s  Awara and Sri 420 , Gurudat’s Kagaz ke Pool, Bazi and Pyasa, Bimal Ray’s  Do Bhiga Jamin , K.Asif’s  Moghal-e-Azam , Pendarkar’s Chatrapati Shivaji , Vasan’s  Mr.Sampath , Ramulu Naydu’s  Azad, Ananthamane’s Sangthe Eka , Kemparaj Urs Shani Mahatme , Honnappa Bhagavatar’s Pancharathna , Pattabhi’s  Haribhakta, Nagendra Rao’s Premada Putri , B.R.Panthulu’s School Master and films became the hit films. Creative acting, melodious music, effective photography, qualitative direction, luxurious sets and other aspects enriched the quality and status of Indian films in 1950s. In the decade of 1960s, Bollywood and regional films grew very well in the country because of the technological advancements and creative ventures. Film shooting took place in India and abroad. The Second International Film Festival was organized in Delhi in 1961.   The Government of India also established National Film Archives of India in 1964. The National Film Development Corporation also came into existence in order to promote new cinema in the country. Prominent films of 1960s include – Gurudat’s Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam ,Satyajit Ray’s Charulatha and Pakiza , K.A.Abbas’ Shahar Aur Sapna , Vijay Anand’s  Hum Dono , Devanand’s Guide, B.R.Chopra’s Khanun , Yash Chopra’s  Dharmaputra, Nitin Bose’s          
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